Kailas

Elevation (feet): 22,028
Elevation (meters): 6,714
Continent: Asia
Country: China
Range/Region: Gangdisi Shanmai
Latitude: 31.0667
Longitude: 81.3167
Difficulty: Major Mountain Expedition
Best months for climbing: Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep
Nearest major airport: Lhasa, Tibet
Convenient Center: Barga, Tibet (small lakefront village, south of the mountain)

Kailas is the center of the Buddhist universe, and the mountain, as well as two lakes over which it rises, have been sacred to Buddhists, Hindus, Jains, and Bonpos for thousands of years. Climbing the peak has never been permitted. However, religious pilgrims of all ages regularly practice parikarma, a sacred circuit of the mountain. The parikarma is a 34 mile, three day loop, over passes up to 18,600 feet. According to legend, a person who completes 108 circuits of the mountain will attain nirvana. The most zealous pilgrims make the entire circuit by performing a series of full prostrations, moving forward one body length at a time. The latter method takes three weeks. The Chinese stopped all pilgrimages for two decades after 1959, but today thousands of pilgrims have resumed the holy tradition, trekking overland for months to reach the base of the mountain.